Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - WWE Monday Night RAW Review and Paul Heyman DVD Video Review
By Mr. Tito
Sep 8, 2014 - 11:45:51 PM

Follow Mr. Tito on @titowrestling

Welcome to the "Excellence in Column Writing" and I am your host with the most, Mr. "I'm a Paul Heyman Guy" Tito. That's right... In this day and age, I rarely buy physical media (DVD/Blu-Ray) any longer. For one, when you have kids and a house to manage, getting the biggest video collection ever no longer becomes a priority... But with premium channels and Netflix, I'm watching almost anything I want and when I want. Plus, I've ramped up the video game habit and games are being bought instead of movies...

But I rarely buy WWE DVD or Blu-Ray discs anymore... And that's a significant statement because if you followed me during the 2000's, I reviewed many wrestling videos (Click Here to read my older media reviews) and I'm so old that I was reviewing VHS copies before DVDs exploded onto the market. As you can see from that website, before Tripod gives your computer AIDS with all of its adware, I bought and reviewed a ton of WWE videos. In fact, as I was winding down before I briefly retired in 2006, I had a big contest to give away my entire video collection on my column. The shipping costs to send these tapes cost me an arm and a leg!

Anyway, WWE videos must be either too good to pass up OR I really want to support the wrestler/personality covered. I didn't hesitate to buy CM Punk's video, for example... For the last 5 years, there was maybe 1 movie that I watched more than once in the theater and that was Guardians of the Galaxy. In addition to enjoying the movie for a second time, I wanted to show my financial support towards that movie. It's the same thing for CM Punk and now for Paul Heyman's video. I want their DVD/Blu-Ray numbers to look great and I'm doing my part to contribute. Most of all, the videos are pretty **** good with real and honest documentaries attached to them.

The Ladies and Gentlemen, My Name is PAUL HEYMAN DVD video is excellent and I strongly recommend any fan to buy it. I actually bought the DVD because that's what Walmart was selling and plus, I have a real problem with all of the old WCW footage getting letterblocked by WWE when I buy the Blu-Ray discs. It was for about $15 and reasonable enough for me to buy to support Heyman. I really hope that this DVD/Blu-Ray is the top seller of 2014 just to prove a point to the WWE about how great Paul Heyman is.

First and foremost, the documentary on Disc 1 is EXCELLENT and as a few have recommended, this should seriously be up for an Academy Award for "Best Documentary". This is why I repeatedly say that Kevin Dunn is an asset as Executive Producer of the WWE. While he might be a bit goofy for his creative team contributions, he's top notch for production. For the most part on WWE's behalf, they told a great story about Paul Heyman's career from top to bottom and let Paul tell his story with some contributions from various wrestlers and personalities. Lots of great footage, too, thanks to WWE's ownership of the majority of Paul Heyman's career from tape acquisitions from various companies. I marked out like my 8 year old self who became a full-blown wrestling fan during late 1988 when watching things in NWA/WCW like the Midnight Express feud.

Seriously... If you want a clinic on how pro wrestling should work, watch the Midnight Express feud from 1988-1989. You had 2 teams fighting over the right to be called "the Midnight Express". That's it. No titles, no backstage segments, no love affairs, nothing... Two teams that hated each other and wanted to exterminate the other team of the same name. Then, you had male managers in Jim Cornette and Paul E. Dangerously (Paul Heyman) causing chaos on the outside and helping their wrestlers with promos to generate major heat. During 1988-1989, this feud mattered more than any WCW Tag Title feud. Two teams and two managers just simply hated each other and their "sense of urgency" was to simply one-up the other team. You don't need a massive creative team to book that.

It was really cool to hear about Heyman's pre-NWA/WCW stuff with the Midnights, as I was too young or not into wrestling fully yet to see it. Personally, I loved the Dangerous Alliance and thought that Heyman and WCW were ahead of their time. Unfortunately, aside from Steve Austin's stranglehold of the TV title, the group didn't dominate and wasn't allowed to be the focal point of WCW during that period of time. They could have been an NWO type of group but the booking was there yet. Moving on, we had Extreme Championship Wrestling. People, now, don't realize how well ECW actually did considering their rich competitors in WWE and WCW. Considering that ECW was in WWE's backyard and still succeeded, that's amazing. They didn't even have Cable TV coverage until late 1999. To see ECW, you had to PRAY that your local channel carried the ECW Infomercial at a very late time on Friday or Saturday night. Seriously, I watched at 1am on Saturday nights back in the day.

And then they go into Paul's financial problems with ECW... Here's my opinion on Heyman. He spent too much money on production, touring, and wrestler salaries to compete with WCW and WWE. But the REAL PROBLEM with ECW was constantly getting their talent raided by WCW and WWE. 1995-1996, WCW steals all of the Luchadores and Benoit/Guerrero/Malenko/Jericho/Sabu/Public Enemy while WWE takes any remainders like 2 Cold Scorpio, Furnas/Lafon, and Terry Funk. For 1997, WCW picked off Raven, Perry Saturn, and Steve Richards which were painful losses and just after ECW's first Pay Per View, "Barely Legal". Sandman, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Shane Douglas would eventually join WCW, too, while Dudleys/Tazz joined WWE before the ECW on TNN shows began. THEN, WCW steals Mike Awesome... How on earth can Paul Heyman survive and grow his ECW business when all of his talent gets stolen?

I would LOVE to see how the likes of Stephanie McMahon and Triple H operate if someone like John Cena was picked off by a competitor. They'd LOSE THEIR MINDS! How about John Cena, Brock Lesnar, and Randy Orton all at once? That's what Paul Heyman constantly had to deal with and was unable to further establish his ECW brand because of the lost star power. Did you hate Justin Credible as ECW Champion? What choice did Heyman have in 2000 with such a depleted roster? It's no wonder that ECW on TNN struggled to maintain 1.0 ratings (just like TNA) and eventually was turfed when TNN was able to acquire WWE programming later during 2000 (see my "Winner's Curse" column on that topic, as Viacom/TNN overpaid for an already declining WWE product). By 2000, Heyman was against 2 companies backed by corporations. Who could compete with that?

Then, he moves to WWE Smackdown as Lead Writer from 2002-2004 and this is where the video gets good. It's a complete open admission that Heyman's Smackdown regularly outdrew RAW during that timeframe. That's huge and they even showed a nice graph to prove it. I'VE SAID THIS FOR YEARS! Smackdown was compelling television with Heyman in charge and the Brand Extension worked because you actually had 2 different brands of WWE wrestling to enjoy. Think of the wrestlers who gained the spotlight during Heyman's tenure... Edge came off a strong feud with Angle before the extension but Heyman continued that further before a neck injury sidelined him. Eddie Guerrero was actually back from rehab and had a lot to prove. Benoit and Angle were made to look very strong during this period of time... Brock Lesnar goes without saying. Rey Mysterio was an unknown to many younger WWE fans but Heyman booked him perfectly and Mysterio became the #2 babyface behind only one guy... John Cena. That's right... Who was booking the Doctor of Thuganomics during 2002-2004? Oh, that's right... Paul Heyman.

And again, facts speak for themselves...

But Heyman was turfed from Smackdown. The only detail you heard was from Stephanie McMahon who said that "Paul Heyman didn't want to be a team player" or was "unable to work with a boss". LOL... Did you see those ratings, Stephanie? Consistently outdrawing RAW from 2002-2004. You dumb idiot. The issue during Heyman's tenure WAS the McMahons and their desire to meddle with Paul Heyman's booking. Particularly when Kurt Angle was unable to stay healthy, there were discussions as to WHO would feud with Brock Lesnar. Vince McMahon obviously pushed Big Show and the Undertaker, goes without saying... But the real issue of heat was Albert, who was rebranded as "A-Train" and many newer fans would come to know him as Lord Tenzai or "Sweet T". Oh God... Vince wanted that hoss to become a main eventer and it conflicted with Heyman's booking directly. Then, you had the extensive Vince McMahon vs. Hulk Hogan feud which gobbled up lots of television time.

McMahons were envious that this former independent promoter could defeat their RAW brand, consistently. That's the heart of the issue and not that Heyman disliked being a team player.

Fine... Heyman goes down to Ohio Valley Wrestling. He starts getting wrestlers to drink his Koolaid, like CM Punk and Beth Phoenix who became legitimate stars in the WWE, and then the McMahons get jealous there as well. Bam, yet another firing...

Now, in between Ohio Valley Wrestling and his WWE return, TNA Wrestling was in discussions with Paul Heyman. They could have had him... The issue was that Heyman would "chop the heads off of anyone over 40" and Heyman wanted complete control, so hence Dixie Carter and other TNA managers flinched. They could have had Paul Heyman... My God, that could have greatly enhanced the pro wrestling business. But nooooooooooooooo...

WWE gets him back when Brock Lesnar returns, the rest is history... Although Heyman isn't a booker, it's great to see many newer talents listening to Heyman. I really liked the show of respect that Renee Young has for Heyman. With her talent and beauty combining with the intelligence for marketing that Paul has, Renee Young could be a serious asset to any company out there. She could now... I don't know how WWE still employs her and why ESPN or CBS/NBC/FOX Sports aren't calling already. Anyway, the video ends with Heyman coming full circle in the business and yet he declares that his kids are his greatest accomplishment. Not only is Heyman talented and highly creative, but humble as well. And this is the guy who WWE wants to keep away from their Creative Team?

Almost a perfect documentary except for one contributor... Stephanie McMahon.

If you've bought WWE documentaries, you'll notice that WWE adds at least one TOKEN **** from WWE management to help "set the record straight". The typical contributors have been and are not just limited to Bruce Pritchard (before he joined TNA), Michael PS Hayes, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon. Poor CM Punk head the pleasure of having 2 WWE **** on his documentary as Michael PS Hayes and Triple H showed their ignorance and arrogance in assessing Punk's career. Paul Heyman got the pleasure of having Stephanie McMahon attack him at various points in the video. Mostly "wasn't a team player" or "hated working for a boss".

What I would LOVE to see Stephanie McMahon accomplish is inventing her own wrestling company outside of the WWE. Without her daddy's assets, let's see what a creative genius she truly is. Ditto for her husband, Triple H. It's easy to play with and spend WWE Corporation money, but it's no so much when you have to legitimately work for that money. Facts speak for themselves with Stephanie. As she gained more and more power backstage since 2000, WWE's ratings and audience only decreased. Domestically, wrestling has half of the audience that it had during the peak of the "Attitude Era". And my point above stands... If a competitor were to raid WWE's talent roster as WCW/WWE did to ECW, Stephanie/Triple H would be finished. They are so reliant on John Cena to carry the WWE brand and completely unable to develop his replacement. LOL @ Roman Reigns, good luck with that.

Fact remains that we've NEVER seen Stephanie without her daddy's money. Until she can prove herself successful outside sucking on the Vince teet, SHUT THE HELL UP!

DVD gets an "A" in my gradebook. STRONGLY recommended for a nice history of the past 3 decades through Heyman's eyes.

On to Monday Night RAW......



Just too much stuff on tonight to watch... If I'm absent of details for any portion of this review, I was constantly switching between RAW, Dallas on TNT, and NFL Monday Night Football. Just killing me, man... Worse yet, I'm a cheap **** and refuse to give Comcast another dime of my money. No DVR here... You either see it LIVE or NOT AT ALL! Actually with RAW, I casually watch RAW and Smackdown on Saturday nights on the Universal HD channel which comes in handy.

I am really enjoying Dallas on TNT this year... Yeah, I just heard you move your mouse to click "Back" on your browser, but Dallas remains strong because of something simple called "character development". The show lost its biggest star, J.R. Ewing because the actor Larry Hagman actually died, but yet the show keeps on ticking. Why? Because instead of just focusing on J.R., they built up a whole world full of characters, young and old, who could easily take the ball and run with it. In addition to keeping Bobby Ewing strong, the show is building both JR and Bobby's sons, and the many ladies they are associated with. Meanwhile, they debut characters often and they have a purpose and a backstory.

Point being, Dallas on TNT isn't so reliant on J.R. Ewing. Sure, it would be nice to still have Larry Hagman still around, but the show built up all of their core characters so strong that they could collectively step up and keep the ball rolling. If WWE were to lose John Cena today, they are SCREWED. There isn't a single person on the WWE roster who can match John Cena in merchandise sales, period. Ditto for houseshow ticket sales, as numbers are clearly higher with Cena on the show and WWE offers refunds for shows he's unable to attend. If he were to retire tomorrow, the WWE is screwed. Nobody on that roster can legitimately draw like John Cena can with merchandise and live shows. WWE would probably have to pay Brock Lesnar more than the reported $5 million per year for just limited appearances to begin to appear more often.

The guys that the WWE has tried to develop as top guys but the problem is WWE Management are pushing the WRONG GUYS to the top. There is a disconnect between who Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, and Vince McMahon want to push versus whom the fans want pushed as main eventers. WWE management wanted Miz, Sheamus, and Alberto Del Rio, who struggled as WWE Champions, whereas WWE fans wanted CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. It took destructive booking to take CM Punk and Daniel Bryan down to make a point, too. And let's not forget the many repeat attempts at pushing Randy Orton to the top. GOOD GOD, how many ratings and buyrate declines can prove those pushes wrong despite the 12 World Titles granted to him?

Meanwhile, the same Creative Team is unable to create an adequate replacement for John Cena is the same bringing us Bella Twins with Jerry Springer. That was utter garbage and yet the Creative Team came to a consensus that this would be a great segment. Let's disregard the FACTS that the Bella Twin quarter hour segments have actually resulted in a drop in viewership... They are awful and they aren't granted any favors by the awful WWE Creative Team.

Furthermore with the Creative Team, they've poorly booked John Cena over the years. Since he joined RAW during 2005, he's been watered down as a typical babyface without any edge and reliant on stupid jokes to hype his feuds. Whereas the Rock and Steve Austin got over because they were innovative on the mic, Cena has said nothing special. It takes serious feuds like against the Rock or now with Brock Lesnar that brings out the potential lost by WWE Creative for John Cena. That promo cut tonight against Paul Heyman was excellent. Cena described the fans who HE wrestles for, which are children, Make-a-Wish, and other unique fans like veterans of wars. Cena NAILED that promo and talked down another great talker in Paul Heyman.

To keep on trashing the Creative Team, they break up the Prime Time Players just as they are getting over as a babyface tag team and then try to push Titus O'Neil as a singles heel wrestler. Tonight and last week, though? Jobbing to Adam Rose. To make matters worse for Titus, he's now partnering up with Heath Slater who just had his former tag partners terminated by WWE.

Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler feud, I have no interest... Miz does nothing for me. WWE uses him like a yo-yo... They push him strong and then the trash the guy. It's just back and forth with this guy yet he still acts and wrestles the same. There's nothing uniquely different from the Miz of 2011, which was a WWE Champion, to the guy you see how fighting over the Intercontinental Title. With Ziggler, he's a guy whom everyone just wants to see wrestle good matches and win a few for his efforts. That's all we're asking.

**** it with these non-title matches, too, WWE. FINGER OF SHAME for that. Sheamus, the United States Champion, lost to Seth Rollins. Not that Rollins shouldn't beat him, but my point is that Sheamus should wrestle with US Title defined contenders only and not wrestle anybody above that status until he loses the belt. Midcard champions cannot get over if they're jobbing to wrestlers above them.

Just fumble after fumble after fumble after fumble by the WWE Creative Team. Yet no accountability because of nepotism. Vince McMahon was very demanding of his Creative Team Lead Writer Vince Russo during the late 1990's while getting in many heated arguments with his developmental guy, Jim Ross. Oh, and as mentioned above, Paul Heyman for 2002-2004 Smackdown. Yet, the free passes are given to Stephanie McMahon and Triple H for their mismanagement of the WWE. That's the problem that I keep pointing out to many diehard WWE fans who keep saying "yes please" to the WWE and pay that $9.99 per month. You probably own one of those $9.99 t-shirts, too.

Now what did I like about RAW? I have to prove that I'm not all negative...

Obviously, I loved the John Cena and Paul Heyman segment. That goes without saying... Awesome promos by both.

Little too late on that NXT cross promotion, eh WWE? Decent tag match between Kidd/Breeze and Neville/Zayn, but nothing to convince me that I need to buy WWE Network for JUST $9.99 to see them wrestle regularly.

I enjoyed the opener between Bray Wyatt vs. Chris Jericho. Neat way to start RAW and attempt to gain viewers. The match was OK, as cage matches in today's WWE environment aren't what they used to be. I did enjoy Jericho's top of the cage spot and then selling the knee injury. You know, psychology... Bray Wyatt capitalized on that knee injury to pull Jericho down and climb over him to escape the cage first. Perfectly acceptable ending and good television match.

I like the stuff with AJ Lee and Paige, but they need some in-ring help. Unload the NXT farm and get serious about pushing Emma. Yeah, I know, she stole something from Walmart, but several wrestlers have failed Wellness Policy testing for taking illegal drugs and yet they can always get a push. WWE forgets what a decent asset the Divas Division used to be when it was taken seriously with Trish Stratus, Lita, Victoria, Molly Holly, Mickie James, and Jazz. Those who do not watch their own WWE Network tend to forget what actually works in the pro wrestling industry...

I had no problems with Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns as the main event. There probably isn't much demand to see this rematch from SummerSlam and that's the perfect time to host the rematch on RAW. I just wonder if the weird tights and bulletproof vest make Reigns slower or uncomfortable in the ring? Excessive muscle weight might be slowing him down, too... Orton and Reigns did have better chemistry in this match than they had at SummerSlam. However, we can't say "better late than never". That's why midcard titles are important, as Reigns could develop his craft while defending a US Title or Intercontinental Title successfully. Orton is on his game tonight and showing why he's one of the most fundamentally sound wrestlers ever. He just lacks emotion to connect that ability with fans. Match became really good towards then end with attempted finishers, and then the attack happened.

Kane and Seth Rollins tried to have the cage lowered to trap Roman Reigns into a 3 on 1 beatdown, but Reigns fought off Rollins and Kane to be alone with Randy Orton. Reigns delivered punishment on Orton until Kane tried to sneak through the door to distract Reigns enough to Rollins jump off the cage and hit Reigns. Holy cow! And now, the 3 on 1 beatdown commences for Roman Reigns. Orton can deliver a beatdown like no other... That's why I keep preaching that he's the best opponent for Brock Lesnar because he has effective offense that Lesnar could legitimately sell. After Orton destroyed Reigns, Seth Rollins took the opportunity to Curb Stomp him into a chair!

That was a pretty **** good way to end RAW. Nice work on that one, WWE Creative... See, I'll give credit where it's due!

LAST WORD: Better highlights this week on RAW than last, but the WWE had to stack their deck with NFL Monday Night Football debuting. However, the reliance of interest centers around John Cena and Brock Lesnar/Paul Heyman. Everything else appears to be wrestling through the motions and nobody else is getting over strong to eventually replace Cena/Lesnar. Seriously, WWE, what happens in 5 years when both Cena/Lesnar are probably gone for good? I'll go "B" for this show.


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